Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic is a classic French dish. This Paleo version of the recipe stands out in my mind as one of the all time biggest hits with my husband. The first time he tried it he could not stop remarking, in between bites, on how good it was. Even if garlic is not your favorite ingredient do not let this recipe scare you off. The cooking process involves boiling, frying and simmering the garlic which leaves the cloves very mildly pungent, sweet and tender. In fact, they practically disintegrate by the end of the cooking process leaving the sauce with a wonderfully rich flavor. The dish works well with “Cauliflower Rice”. I discovered that adding some of the resulting sauce to the cauliflower made it especially good. One bonus with these two dishes is you can make both of them ahead of time and reheat before serving. This is a simplified, crock pot and Paleo version of the classic Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic based on one by Ina Garten sans the butter, cream and flour.


  • 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
  • 2 (3 1/2 pound) chickens, cut into eighths
  • Celtic Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fat (ghee, lard, tallow, etc…)
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (optional)
  1. Separate the cloves of garlic (don’t peel them) and drop them in a pot of boiling water for about 60-90 seconds. Strain the garlic out, allow to cool slightly and then peel. Set aside.
  2. Dry the chicken and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the 3 tablespoons of fat in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. When a batch is done, transfer to a large crock pot and continue the process until all the chicken is browned.
  4. Add all the garlic to the pot containing the fat. Lower the heat and sauté for about 10 minutes, turning the garlic, until evenly cooked and browned.
  5. Add the Cognac and white wine and return to a boil, scraping any of the browned pieces off the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the thyme leaves and pour the entire pan of garlic and liquid over the chicken in the crock pot.
  7. Cook on low heat for 6 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, remove the chicken from the crock pot to a large serving platter. Taste the sauce at this point and add in some Celtic Sea Salt (or table salt) and pepper to taste. If the sauce is not thick enough for your preference I recommend adding 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder at this point. Arrowroot tends to lose its ability to thicken if cooked. But adding it at the end, after the sauce has cooled down, seems to work well. Personally, I thought the sauce was fine without being thickened. Especially because I used some of it to flavor the “Cauliflower Rice” dish that I served with the chicken.
Alternate Instructions
If you want to make this dish all in one evening and serve it for dinner, rather than transferring the chicken to a crock pot,
  1. Place the chicken on a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
  2. Once all the chicken is cooked and the sauce is prepared add the chicken back into the large pot or Dutch oven and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes until the chicken is done.
  3. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and cook the sauce down to your preferred consistency and season to taste. You can use an immersion blender to purée the garlic which will thicken the sauce. If you prefer an even thicker sauce it would be at this point the arrowroot could be added before pouring it over the chicken.
Bon appetit mon cavepeople!

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12 thoughts on “Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

  1. Pingback: Classic French dish - 100% Paleo! | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  2. I am going to try this with some of my favorite Dutch friends! It sounds delicious and easy. I DO like to cook with garlic and realize the health benefits too. Do you know if cooked garlic is as healthy as fresh? Thanks for your wonderful blog, Lea!

    • Unfortunately, cooked garlic does not have as many health benefits as raw. I have also read that raw garlic that has been irradiated has little benefit as well. This would potentially include bulk peeled garlic in jars that come from China. Garlic is at its most healthful when it is crushed raw and you wait about 15 minutes before using it. It has something to do with the Allicin content being released during that time period. Allicin is the component in garlic with the most benefit. So, while this dish will not give you all the benefits of raw, I am quite sure you will enjoy eating it. Bon appetit!

  3. Pingback: I Have Made Cauliflower! Basic Cauliflower Rice Recipe | Paleo Spirit

  4. My family has issues with chicken “parts” as my kids call them. They are so used to boneless chicken breasts, Do you think those would work if they still had skin on for fat/flavor?

    • Nicki,
      My husband used to have the same issue with boned chicken. Even he likes this recipe but I do understand your issue because kids can be especially tough customers. I think you could do this with boneless chicken -preferably with skin but, honestly, I think it would be pretty good even boneless/skinless too -just different.

    • Wine and cognac are made from grapes and any alcohol cooks out. I avoid foods that contain grains, legumes or dairy for health reasons not because of some philosophy about what cavemen ate or didn’t as some people may emphasize. If these items are a problem for you I’d bet you could leave them out fairly easily.

  5. I’m planning on making this delicious recipe today! My husband is allergic to grapes and I use all natural ginger ale as a substitute for wine. I find it at whole foods.
    Give it a try!

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